Feature

Every Time the Wind Blows

January 2004

On the afternoon before the mission, Capt. Justin Brown, call sign Apache 6, gathered the key leaders of Apache Troop for a briefing. Seated on plastic chairs, his men circled around a satellite image of the town that Brown had placed on the floor.

Brown, a 29-year-old Texan, reminded his men that “decisions are going to be made at the lowest level. We will dominate our battle space. Nothing will move in your area without you having control over it. Tiger 6 has defined success on this mission as getting 50 percent of the people on the list. We will bring in every person on this list one way or the other.”

Brown cautioned his men to watch roofs and windows, and urged them and their soldiers to drink plenty of water in the desert heat. He told them to “maintain momentum, keep the adrenaline flowing.” Several times he discussed precautions to avoid hurting innocent civilians.